First Impressions

The trip between Lorton VA and Quantico VA took almost an hour to cover 15 miles of the parking lot called I-95.  Ideally, the first photos I would show would be the Military Police check point at the entrance to Quantico.  However, there are numerous signs warning of the severe sanctions for unauthorized photography and I had no desire to be drawn and quartered nor used as an instructional aid for bayonet drill, so I left my camera safely in the bag.

After driving (very carefully five miles per hour under the speed limit) past the 1000 yard rifle range, the archery range (seriously!), and more interesting signs like “Warning, Explosives Laden Vehicles Entering Roadway,” I made it to the National Academy.  The FBI Uniform Police maintain a second security check point, once past that I was able to join the madhouse of people unloading their luggage.

The Entrance
The Entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I did not feel safe enough with Marine security check points and uniformed FBI police surrounding the facility, the current FBI Academy (future agent) cadets were on hand to assist us with luggage and finding our rooms and every one of them was armed with a bright crayola blue training pistol.  The guy who helped me was actually a deputy in Orange County FL for six years and got hired on with the FBI.  I am glad they are hiring cops, though he said he was one of only six in his class.

The grounds here are immaculate.  It is a very park like environment.  As I was lugging my stuff through one of the glass hallways that connect buildings, there was a doe with two fawns within five feet of the glass looking in at me.  The deer here seem to have no fear; then again, with Marines and and FBI protecting them, what do they have to be afraid of?

IMGP2451.JPG
IMGP2451.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

My room is not quite as high rent as the grounds are but it is not as quite as spartan as I feared.  The bathroom between the two room looks original to J. Edgar’s administration and the shower nozzle is somewhat akin to a pressure washer.  At least there is privacy in the room shower.  The showers in the gym provide the joy of bathing with a hundred of your closest friends.  Anyhow, this is my room, forgive the fish eye perspective:

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IMGP2467.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

My desk is on the right.  The cards from SVU and Tracy have top billing on my bulletin board!
My desk is on the right. The cards from SVU and Tracy have top billing on my bulletin board!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully all of these photos will link to the larger version if you are interested; that is what I am aiming for anyhow, but I am new to this Live Writer and I don’t know if it will work.

After moving into the room we had a tour of the facilities which left me just as lost as when I started.  All of the buildings are connected and you get confused as to which building you are actually in.  Most of the hallways look alike and there are lots of doors like this one:

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IMGP2437.JPG

If you look closely, that is a tumbler lock, like on a safe.  If I had to go through that every time I left my office, I would sure think twice about running for a cup of coffee.  Heck, I left the combination on the back of my gym locker lock today; that probably would disqualify me for the FBI right there!  Smile with tongue out

My roommate is from Nebraska, his name is Kevin.  I have met one of our suitemates, he is the Sheriff of Delaware County OH.  Actually, I have met a lot of people (because my Mom always said if I was friendly to people at school, I would make friends.  See, I listened Mom!)  We have 28 international students in the class.  I have met the ones from UK, Lithuania, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and one of the two Canadians.  Spain, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Ukraine, a couple of African nations I can’t remember, Romania, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, and Thailand are among the other countries with officers here.  Among the friends I have made is Ben from the UK.  He works in Hampshire England on a homicide and major crime unit.  On Saturday he went with Mike and I to Wal-Mart on a supply run and Sunday he and I drove to the recreational area on the base to check out what was available.

This is Ben.  I sent him this shot so he could show his wife how hard he is working.
This is Ben. I sent him this shot so he could show his wife how hard he is working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is Mike; I have GOT to get one of those snorkel goggles!
And this is Mike; I have GOT to get one of those snorkel goggles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Lunga Recreational Area
Lake Lunga Recreational Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning I made it to the non-denominational church service.  I was one of four in attendance.  None of the four of us could sing worth a dang and the hymns were a capella, luckily there were only two of them, though we did sing every verse.  Ben and I checked out the recreational area after lunch, and I swam a half mile in the pool before supper.  This evening was our official welcoming speech from the director of the National Academy and our first opportunity to meet the FBI agent assigned to our section (the class is broken into six sections, each has an FBI agent) in our home room.  Yes, I have a home room again.

Tomorrow is more orientation, paperwork, a last opportunity to drop/add classes, and a welcoming dinner.  Classes start in earnest on Tuesday.  Each section has to select certain class officers, one of which is photographer.  I may volunteer for photographer but apparently that would also mean trying to complete challenge runs while carrying my gear, not sure about adding an extra six to eight pounds of expensive camera gear to cross country running.  I will try to find out more tomorrow.

The Chapel
The Chapel

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Auditorium
The Auditorium

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weight Room, actually, just part of it.
The Weight Room, actually, just part of it.
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7 Responses to First Impressions

  1. Nell Hays says:

    I was thinking of you as I did my weekend walk past your house and the car was gone. Thanks for the tour!! I hope we can keep track of you this way, and good luck!

    • tlethbridge says:

      Thanks Nell! I will try to keep this updated regularly, at least until they start assigning papers.

    • Tracy says:

      Funny you should say that, Nell. I’m still finding it weird to come home from work and his car isn’t there. It’s not often that’s happened over the last year and a half! And I also miss someone who gets home before me and cooks supper. 😉

  2. Brandon A. Ball says:

    Tim,
    Glad to hear all is well as you settle in to your new digs. As a graduate of NA 243 in December of 2010, I can tell you that the experience flew by like the wind. I encourage you to document the experience well and take lots of photos. You are experiencing what few law enforcement officers ever will. Dont be a wallflower and communicate with your classmates. I speak on a daily basis with someone from my class and have benefited both personally and professionaly from the experience. The people I encountered during my experience will be a part of the rest of my life and the experience was one you cannot put a price tag on. Coomunicate with your family on a regular basis about what you are experiencing, they are going thru it with you!! Good luck and enjoy the rich history of your surroundings! We are all proud of you down here in the Heartland!

    BB

    • tlethbridge says:

      Thank you Brandon, I am enjoying it and I am meeting so many people each day it is hard to keep them straight. I am looking forward to interacting more with the international students; that opportunity alone makes this place pretty cool.

  3. Laura says:

    Tim, do you actually think reports will slow you down? Me? absolutely. You……come on. Only you could make going through security sound funny! Should I say enjoy? I know when you were on patrol you would get mad when I told you that I hoped you would have a quiet night! : )

    • tlethbridge says:

      Considering I don’t have to cook, don’t have to clean up the kitchen, and I can probably get by on one load of laundry a week, you would think I would be drowning in free time, but so far it is pretty busy. I am sure there will be enough time to get everything done, though.

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